By Karen Schellhaas
It’s the little things.
Or so they say. But, I prefer the big things. Big trips, big revelations, big stages in front of big audiences. Big-punch moments that match my bright red lipstick.
But it’s the little things, even the mundane, repetitive things for which I wear a neutral, boring lipstick on a small stage, often with an audience of one or two, that seem to be what my children remember and cherish, and what my friends treasure most in our relationships. As much as I crave large-scale, somewhat flashy influence, God’s evidently got other ideas for me in this season of my life, ideas far superior to my own.
This has never been so clearly evidenced as in a blessing I received via email for my youngest child on his 6th birthday, a child we adopted from Ethiopia at age 2. The surprise blessing came from my Aunt Jo, a 61-year-old woman whom I adore but with whom I shared little more than genetics and warm embraces.
Here is Aunt Jo’s blessing, received in December 2011, an email that humbled and totally surprised us. I share it with you, in part, with her full permission:
“Dear Bode, I must remind you of something important... something to let you know how big you are and how big you have always been! You, your family and Nanna came to Kansas City two whole years ago. I watched you and Brock for a while. Both of you were all cuddled up in your PJs. I read you a story and THEN... you and Brock sang "Jesus Loves Me This I Know" to me! I so remember the look on your sweet faces. Your eyes just shone! You were so beautiful to me! You sang and sang! I almost cried for the sweetness of it... well, ok, I did cry! Why? I used to sing that song with your Nanna when we were little girls, in our family together, sisters. But somehow when I was growing up, I forgot that Jesus loved me. I was so sad and I did not know why! But your song, your joy, your message to me as you sang, began to crack my heart open like a hard old nut. And then I remembered - Jesus loved me, too! It took a while, but then I began to BELIEVE He loved me... once you boys sang that sweet message and shined that light into my heart, I knew that God was calling me again. He had never quit calling me; I just could not hear Him anymore. So He sang out to me through your song -- He had not forgotten me! I knew I'd lost my way and that He was helping me find Him again. I took His hand and I'm not letting go. He holds my hand and He loves me. I missed Him, Bode. You reminded me of how much I missed Him.”
It wasn’t necessarily the big things that God used to romance my Aunt Jo, to woo her back with His love. Among other little things, it was an itty-bitty nighttime ritual, one that we sometimes struggle to continue with our children on those nights when we’re exhausted and genuinely wondering if all the little things eventually add up.Turns out, they do – in ways I could’ve never imagined. But isn’t that just like God – using the seemingly insignificant or the young or the improbable to do what only he can do. Our God mysteriously weaves little things in to his bigger story, like when he fed 5000 people with a little boy’s two fish and five loaves of bread. A simple, uncomplicated offering made noteworthy through his power. Not that we can always see the bigger story in the detailed, everyday trenches of life, but I ’m asking God for new eyes to see what he sees in the everyday – to trust that he’s got an eternal vision for the few fish and several loaves he’s handed each of us, even a little 6-year-old birthday boy.